Do I Have a Cold or Allergies?



Do I Have a Cold or Allergies?

Cold Symptoms vs. Allergy Symptoms

Cold symptoms and allergy symptoms can feel pretty similar, so how do you know which one you're dealing with? Colds are more common in winter, and most people suffer from allergies during the warmer months, but both can hit you any time during the year.

These are the key differences between allergies and colds for you to remember the next time you’re feeling a bit under the weather.

Key differences between allergies and colds

First, you should understand how colds and allergies come into your life. The common cold is caused by a virus, which then causes your immune system to fire up and fight back. Allergy symptoms pop up when your overactive immune system has a response to allergens (like pollen, dust, and pet dander).

One of the biggest differences in symptoms will be duration. Typically, a cold doesn’t last more than 14 days or so, while allergies can plague you for months on end.

Symptoms of a cold

If you have a common cold you might develop a cough, sore throat, runny nose, congestion, and sneeze attacks. Sometimes, you’ll feel fatigued and your body will ache. Symptoms like fevers and itchy eyes rarely occur when you have a cold.

And remember, if your cold symptoms last for more than 2 weeks you should go see your doctor. You might have a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics.

Common allergy symptoms

With allergies, some of the symptoms will be similar to those of a cold. A runny or stuffy nose and sneezing are two common symptoms of allergies. Occasionally, allergies also cause people to cough, have a sore throat, and feel fatigued. A fever and/or aches and pains almost never occur with allergies.

Itchy eyes are common with allergies, though, and can be one sign that you’re not dealing with the common cold.

Recovering from allergies and colds

Recovering from allergies could involve over-the-counter antihistamines, or another medication prescribed by your doctor. If you aren’t sure what’s causing your symptoms it’d be worthwhile to find out so that you can avoid those triggers and keep yourself feeling great. You may have even developed an allergy recently when you’ve never suffered before.

Bouncing back after the common cold usually means lots of rest and relaxation. Drink plenty of fluids and eat healthily — hearty, healthy winter soups are a great way to help yourself feel better, even if allergies are the culprit.